Exhibition Opening Friday 8 April 5pm – 8pm
Exhibition continues until Saturday 23 April, 4pm
Gallery open Times Tuesday -Saturday 11am - 4pm
Katie Watchorn’s practice is rooted in the rhythms of farming and land management. Primarily sculptural, she often employs fickle, agriculturally specific materials in combination with familiar rural motifs and ubiquitous objects and forms from her surrounding environs. These re-situated encounters aim to establish a new awareness of a contemporary rather than a vanished existence. Her material transformations distill the inherently chaotic environments of farming practice and reduce it to its barest outlines, allowing for an abstraction of this otherwise practical environment. In essence, the rurality of her existence is often rendered sterile and ambiguous, a symptom of her own fluctuation from rural to urban environments, and how these landscapes often compete in her mind.
The staging of works was in part influenced by her family selling their dairy herd over the course of her time at the Sculpture Centre; observations of the procession of livestock trailers on mart day in Manorhamilton; and her own scrolling through ‘Done Deal’ noticing farms going out of business (including her own families as she listed items for her father on the classifieds site).
The phrase Get Away From It All often refers to escapism, holidays, time off. Frequently a retreat from urban centres to idyllic countryside. Often, the countryside is a place to pass through or a place to indulge in respite, as opposed to a being considered a highly contemporary place of labour, chaos, and technological development. Katie links her ideas in this exhibition through the repetitive use of a second-hand poultry gantry way - usually the point of observation between human and animal; flock and farmer. Through several casting methods, which are displayed on the surface of this sieve-like platform, the artist attempts to link the following thoughts:
A family members farm accident and resulting leg injury; the etymology of the calf muscle, animal skin and PPE; waxed cotton outerwear, pouring vessels and cottagecore aesthetics; DeLaval and TetraPak milk advertising; slatted tanks and automated scrapers; off-roading and the change of Land Rover from military vehicle to rural status item; the development of the car cupholder; the Irish governments recent request of dairy farmers to focus instead on growing grain and the sugar beet industries resurgence as supplementary fodder for cattle…(etc etc)
Katie Watchorn graduated from the National College of Art and Design in 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include; Zero Grazing at Studio Pavilion as part of Glasgow International, 2021, A Calf Remembered, Wexford Arts Centre, BalehomeBalehome at VISUAL Carlow, both 2018. Group exhibitions include: From Here to There, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, GUEST, curated by Marysia Wieckiewicz Carroll, Newbridge House, Dublin, Grass Roots, Muine Bheag, Co. Carlow (all 2021); PAST/URES, The Library Project, Dublin, 2020 and Periodical Review #9, Pallas Projects, Dublin, 2019. She was Overall Winner in the Visual Arts Category of the 2014 Irish Undergraduate Awards, received the HOTRON Recent Graduate Award 2016, selected by Annie Fletcher, and is the recipient of a number of Arts Council Bursaries, including the Next Generation Award (2017) supporting emerging artists of promise at a pivotal stage in their career. Katie was a resident at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2019 as part of their 1000 programme and is currently an artist-in-residence at Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin.